catalenamara (catalenamara) wrote,

Fannish Migration

I know it’s easy to make generalizations about fandom, but in my experience they usually break down on closer examination. I’ve heard all kinds of “fandom is this and that” over the years, but none of these comments come even close to capturing the complexity of any single fandom, much less multiple fandoms.

Just about anything fannish – TV show/movie/book/etc. – will probably have multiple “fandoms” – gen, het, slash, probably more than one One True Pairing, and inspire a variety of fic from fluffybunny to darkfic and everything in between. Plus lots of wars over “true to canon”, “true to character”, etc. If there are ten fans in one room, there will be at least 11 opinions.

Thingswithwings makes a generalization about fandom that made me go *blink*. She brings up an interesting, complicated, and big issue in this post (one that I've commented on in other venues so won't go into here), but she follows up by stating as a given that fans follow their friends and favorite authors from fandom to fandom, and the actual TV show/movie/book/whatever is almost irrelevant. She talks about the fannish hive mind, as if we’ve always gone lockstep in the same direction, and never split or balkanized or gone off in a thousand different directions at once. Her post:

For an interesting response, go here:

For myself, I have to really enjoy the source material before I’ll get involved with a fandom. Despite being a fannish butterfly, I am not an ATG (“Any Two Guys”) person, and since I’ll read occasional het or menage, or even gen, I’m not always a slash person.

This post did make me think about how I’ve gotten involved with various fandoms over the years and how much or how little influence the tastes of various friends have had on my decision to watch the source material and become further involved in fandom.

I was going to set up a poll, but then I realized I’d have a hard time answering “yes” or “no” to my own questions. So here are my questions, and my own answers.

Q: Have you ever followed friends/favorite authors into a fandom without ever having seen/read the source material?

A very qualified yes: “The Professionals”. It was impossible to find high quality videotapes of these episodes in the 80s; it was painful to even try to watch 20th generation camera copies. Every fan party I attended in the mid-80s was awash in photocopies of Pros circuit stories, some by some of my favorite Star Trek writers. I read a few stories by those specific authors, then I didn’t bother reading Pros again until I saw good quality episodes. Once I saw Bodie and Doyle in action, heard their voices, learned the cadences of their speech and saw the way they moved, I was hooked. But until I became familiar with them, the stories felt very flat.

Q. Have you ever followed friends/favorite authors into a fandom while being indifferent to the source material?

No. I had several friends who did their best to pimp me into “Starsky and Hutch”. They all left Kirk/Spock at the same time for S/H. They showed me lots of their favorite episodes and loaned me quantities of their favorite fic. It never took. I don’t know why; “Starsky and Hutch” is slash on a plate, but nothing about the show or the characters “does it” for me.

Q. Have you ever really enjoyed the source material, read the work of specific authors into a fandom, and yet have no interest in the fandom as a whole?

Yes. A couple of my favorite authors from other fandoms started writing Harry Potter fic awhile back. I’ve read and enjoyed all the HP books and movies, yet I have zero desire to participate in this fandom. But I have read, thoroughly enjoyed, have recced and will read stories by these people in this (or any other) fandom. I’ve never had the slightest urge to go find any more HP fic on my own.

Digression: if you want a truly kickass WONDERFUL crossover, here’s an awesome Supernatural/Harry Potter crossover:

Old Country by Astolat

Q. Have you ever been strenuously pimped by your friends into another fandom and immediately fell in love with the source material.

Yes, “Due South”; that show had me on my first viewing. But, LOL, when all my friends jumped to RayK I stayed with RayV - though in recent years I’m willing to read on both sides of the fence, as it were. And I’ve discovered a particular liking for RayV/RayK, or RayV/Fraser/RayK.

Q. Have you ever gotten into a TV show/movie before your friends and busily pimped the source material to them in the hopes that a fandom would ensue?

Yes, Smallville. I watched the first episode and raved about it to all my friends. It was fun being there from the very beginning.

Q. Have you ever gotten into a TV show/movie and tried to pimp it to your friends only to find out that they’d just gotten into it as well and were about to pimp right back?

Yes, Garak/Bashir (Deep Space 9).

Q: Have you ever been part of a mass migration into another fandom?

Yes, “The Sentinel”. It came along at a time when I was “ready for a new fandom”, and I found a lot of my friends migrating along with me. I was very surprised to find people in TS fandom that I hadn’t heard from/of since the 1980s, who had either been spending their time in fandoms I didn’t frequent, or had gafiated for awhile. Every once in awhile there’s a fandom which exerts almost a black-hole like force, drawing in all sorts of people, and “The Sentinel” was definitely one of those.

I bet as soon as I post this I’ll think of more questions. But that does it for now...

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